Charges of betrayal and pledges of revenge are accompanying the celebrations over the fall of Kabul to Northern Alliance forces, with fresh terrorist threats issued against the United States.
Taliban fighters have declared that they will carry on the fight in the mountains against the forces arrayed against them, and they claim they have followers who are “Western in appearance” ready to assist in attacks against the West.
In a statement made in Islamabad, Pakistan, to a reporter from the Italian news daily Corriere della Sera, representatives of groups associated with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and terrorist kingpin Osama bin Laden are declaring their intention to carry on the fight from mountain strongholds and desert hideouts. The warriors are declaring their readiness to become “martyrs” for God.
One of the Taliban sympathizers speaking to Corriere della Sera, Hussain Hamed, is leader of the Herakat-ul-Jihad Islami organization, designated as a terrorist group by the FBI.
Another guerrilla fighter, referred to as “Janghir,” claimed at the press meeting that the pro-Taliban fighters have recruits from a number of Western countries and boast that among them are “an American ex-soldier who has converted to Islam and has fought in Chechnya,” as well as “German and Italian volunteers.” These recruits are “Western in appearance,” according to Janghir.
The United States may face further determined terrorist activity.
Janghir ominously proclaimed that while the attacks of Sept. 11 were not justified because there was no war, now the U.S. is a “legitimate target” following the American bombing campaign in Afghanistan.
He claims he received advanced training “in the art of guerrilla war” in the Khost terrorist camp, one of the targets of the American 1998 missile attack against Osama bin Laden’s bases in Afghanistan.
The guerrilla fighters claim that the Taliban strategy is to “consolidate defensive positions in the mountains” and other inaccessible regions, while being prepared “to yield all the cities.” The Taliban will launch “deadly attacks” from their strongholds, according to the guerrillas.
Observers note that the capture of Kabul by the Northern Alliance could inadvertently aid the Taliban because of Afghanistan’s ethnic divisions.
The Northern Alliance consists primarily of Uzbek and Tajik groups, who are a minority in Afghanistan. The Taliban receive most of their support from the Pashtuns, the majority ethnic group in the nation.
Some observers fear that the Pashtuns will view the capture of Kabul by the Northern Alliance not so much as a defeat for the Taliban, but as a humiliation for their tribal group at the hands of Uzbeks and Tajiks.
The Northern Alliance capture of Kabul has also led the former king of Afghanistan, Zahir Shah – a Pashtun – to claim betrayal.
A representative of the former king, Abdul Sattar Sirat, denounced the capture of Kabul as “contrary to the accords” agreed upon between the Northern Alliance and representatives of the king.
The accord, according to Sirat, included provisions for Kabul to be a demilitarized zone and called for a new government “arising from a political process.” The “political process” was to include a “loya girga,” a grand council of Afghan elders and religious leaders.
In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, Sirat described the king as a necessary element in Afghan politics and a “father figure for all of the Afghan nation” who would “have an important role” in any new government.
Despite the Northern Alliance occupation of Kabul, Sirat still views the convening of the “loya girga” as necessary for a realistic and final resolution of the Afghan crisis.
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